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(ABC News)   Americans are in such lousy financial shape that 4 in 10 say they could not come up with $2,000 if their lives depended on it   ( abcnews.go.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Americans, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Pew Charitable Trusts, Sufis, confidence interval  
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6908 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Apr 2014 at 10:16 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-08 01:42:53 PM  

WienerButt: I'm 27 and make 47000 a year. I can look at hitting the 65-70k mark in about a year unless shiat hits the fan nationwide. I have 0 student loan debt and one credit card with a limit of 1500 for emergencies.

Having a girlfriend sucks sometimes since money is always spent regardless of how small and low key we keep it. If she moves in with me at the end of the summer my mortgage payment gets cut in half and maybe I can get a new car.


LoL.
 
2014-04-08 01:43:19 PM  

radarlove: If you live in the United States, you're almost guaranteed to have access to a library and internet.


No, you are not.
 
2014-04-08 01:43:41 PM  

lennavan: The Missing Link: I have never been poor and looking for work while being out of a job.

The Missing Link: Seriously, I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK, WHILE BEING OUT OF A JOB.

The Missing Link: No, NEVER.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK.  FFS PEOPLE This is not hard to comprehend.

We know.  Geez dude, you don't have to beat us over the head with it.


Actually, this person sounds to me like they've spent time truly thinking about the subject. Many life-long middle class (and higher) folks I've met never think twice about a small luxury. In my own experience, I feel like those who do pinch all types of pennies have spent appreciable time being poor, or are an engineer =)

Be poor long enough and the decisions really do become that black and white easy. Think about how my generation's (GenX) grandparents behaved due to experiencing the Great Depression. Our parents (their kids) sure acted differently in an America of absolute abundance...
 
2014-04-08 01:44:06 PM  

grimlock1972: fireclown: [www.mamascritics.com image 850x625]
Baby step 1:  set up an emergancy fund of $1500.

The guy is occasionally kind of nutty, but the bones of his plan are pretty sound.

your baby step is probably too big for many right now as $1,500 all at once is a big hit to alot of people, i for example would have to split it over 3 months.


Then take three months.  Heck, take 4.  Then take the money that you were putting to the emergency fund, cut WAY the hell back on your WRITTEN budget and start digging into the rest of the debt.    When I finally decided to get my financial shiat in order (and it was a basket case), it took me a little over two years to clear out credit card debt, car loan, and some misc debt.  I didn't get into that hole overnight, and I didn't get OUT overnight.
 
2014-04-08 01:44:24 PM  

Fubini: TV and the internet both provide general news and emergency alert information. A cell phone or weather radio provide can provide emergency alerts, but can't provide further information or general news, and generally don't cover non-weather emergencies.

That certainly justifies having a TV set, and if you don't get over-the-air programming, it justifies an expenditure on cable TV or internet service.

It's also true that some kind of entertainment is warranted, even for the poorest of the poor. If you get over-the-air TV, or live next to a library or something, then that's great, but not everyone has access to that.



I do not believe "in home entertainment that costs money" is a necessity. Read a library book. Listen to the radio. Play cards. Whittle. People lived for thousands of years without electronic entertainment.

Radio also covers emergencies. I don;t believe for a minute  someone needs a smart phone and cable tv "just in case something happens".

Necessities are food, shelter, medical care, etc. Not cable TV.
 
2014-04-08 01:45:53 PM  

sigdiamond2000: I have no credit card debt, pay for everything using cash (mainly ass pennies), my mortgage rate is -3.75%, and my portfolio is so diversified it makes your piddling 401k look like a Klan rally.


if you have tons of different funds in your 401k, you are actually losing money to management fees.  You shouldn't have more then 2 or 3 different funds, or your gains are being eaten away.

// not so smart now, are you?
// fart
 
2014-04-08 01:47:15 PM  

radarlove: Fubini: The Missing Link: You can use the internet for free in most  libraries

That's a nice safety net, but that assumes that you have access to such a thing and that it makes sense to do so.

Think again about the poor rural American outside the broadcast range of a TV station. Even if the local libraries have internet, they might be ten or twenty miles away, they have limited hours of availability, and you've got to compete for computer time with other patrons.

If you live in the United States, you're almost guaranteed to have access to a library and internet.  There are more libraries here than McDonald's.  Some of the poorer reservation libraries I've found lack internet access, but it's pretty standard most other places.  So access to public internet is there, but it's also a tremendous pain in the ass.  You've got to find a library, get to a library, hope there's not a huge queue to use the machines, hope there are no time-sensitive emails from potential employers, search a dozen sites for job leads and check in with mom all before the next guy in line starts getting too antsy or before the librarian starts harping on you about time limits.  It's all doable but it sucks up a huge chunk of your time that you need to be spending hitting the pavement to follow up on the bullshiat leads you found online which almost never end up panning out.  Sort of ends up resulting in a big Catch-22.


Huh. Turns out you're right.

Number of public libraries: 16,415
Number of McDonalds: 14,268

I agree with pretty much all of the caveats you've endorsed. It's a great safety net, but relying on the library for internet access is not a very good long-term strategy.
 
2014-04-08 01:47:23 PM  

impaler: Humans are creatures that NEED to be entertained, and as far as cost-effective entertainment goes, TV is about the highest bang for the buck.

If you think people's route to financial prosperity is anyway affected by owning a TV, you suck at math.



People somehow managed to survive through most of human history without television. Read a library book. Go for a walk. Listen to free radio. Play cards.

There is no way a monthly TV bill is a good idea if you are struggling to make ends meet. No how. No way. It is a luxury.
 
2014-04-08 01:48:40 PM  

radarlove: Somewhere, in the deep dark recesses of my subconscious, there is a breathy voice in a cloud of Maker's Mark that tells me that if I go on public assistance, I am a parasitic leach draining the lives of innocent people and families to serve my own selfish needs and to cover up my own foolish mistakes.


Stop being stupid.  When you don't need it, you pay for the safety net.  When you do need it, you take full advantage of it and do the best you can to get back on your feet.  Then you pay back in.  It's the exact same thing as insurance -- not everyone needs it but no one feels like a leech when they want insurance to pay for stuff.

radarlove: I loathe inflicting hardship or even mere inconvenience upon people.


You're not.  Whether you decide to use it or not, everyone else is going to pay in the same amount.

radarlove: That's just who I am.


That's a cop out.  You aren't your thoughts, you are your actions.  Find yourself thinking whatever you wish but put in your application for the services.

radarlove: I'm not in a location where there are people to assist me with any kind of governmental assistance but my primary focus right now needs to be mental healthcare.


The underlying cause is no doubt your current financial situation.  Dude, just throw down an application.  Here, that application gets you nothing except an in person meeting.  So just send in the application and go to the meeting.  Worry about the rest from there.

radarlove: I've been coming to this website since I was a teen and on some level of our minds all voices register. Somewhere, in the deep dark recesses of my subconscious, there is a breathy voice in a cloud of Maker's Mark that tells me that if I go on public assistance, I am a parasitic leach draining the lives of innocent people


Same here.  It wasn't very long ago my wife and I nearly ended up where you're at.  We lucked out and found jobs.  But I had the meeting all setup.  I wasn't exactly "stoked" to go.  What am I going to do next time I'm there?  Well I'll remember your post and think maybe I should toughen up and skip a few meals and not set up that meeting because you weren't a leech and had it worse.  Alternatively, you can send me an email (EIP) and let me know how your meeting goes, kill a teenie bit of the stigma for me and next time I'm in the situation I'll be able to tell myself this other guy did it, so I guess maybe it's slightly more okay and think I'm glad I read your post.

No pressure.  :-)
 
2014-04-08 01:49:01 PM  

pacified: sigdiamond2000: I have no credit card debt, pay for everything using cash (mainly ass pennies), my mortgage rate is -3.75%, and my portfolio is so diversified it makes your piddling 401k look like a Klan rally.

if you have tons of different funds in your 401k, you are actually losing money to management fees.  You shouldn't have more then 2 or 3 different funds, or your gains are being eaten away.

// not so smart now, are you?
// fart


I assumed he was talking about his entire investment portfolio, not just his 401k.

It was a pretty good joke too.
 
2014-04-08 01:51:47 PM  

itsaidwhat: TheWhoppah: Failure to raise $2000 for a down payment on an attorney causes students and young adults to plead guilty in cases where they really shouldn't.  Over their lifetime this simple mistake will lower their lifetime earning potential by several hundred thousand dollars.  The mistake is magnified when you consider that they probably COULD have sold their car or borrowed the $2000 from GrandMa if they were not embarrassed to admit they got busted with drugs or for petty theft.

I'm poor because I'm not buying enough lottery tickets. Statistically, it's true.

I'm poor because I'm not beating the wrap often enough. Statistically, it's true.

I'm poor because I make kids I can't feed, clothe or care for, buy cable TV and other stuff that I don't need, oh, refuse to work one job let alone two and I didn't take advantage of the free high school education that my government gave me.



And you will be even more poor with a conviction on your criminal history than without.
 
2014-04-08 01:51:52 PM  

pacified: sigdiamond2000: I have no credit card debt, pay for everything using cash (mainly ass pennies), my mortgage rate is -3.75%, and my portfolio is so diversified it makes your piddling 401k look like a Klan rally.

if you have tons of different funds in your 401k, you are actually losing money to management fees.  You shouldn't have more then 2 or 3 different funds, or your gains are being eaten away.

// not so smart now, are you?
// fart


notsureifserious.jpg

If you are serious, that's not how management fees work.  If not, well, then I'm an idiot.
 
2014-04-08 01:53:12 PM  

Dadoody: I have about 250k I could pull out and still be debt free.

I know people my age who've worked the same jobs as me and have made as much or more, and can't seem to save a dime of it, so unless you've got mental disabilities, there is no reason you couldn't have worked and saved or invested money in a way to grow it and have some for a rainy day unless you've made some poor life choices, and let's face it.....4 in 10 Americans usually do make some pretty lousy life choices.


This is not a popular thing to say, but it's true. Go down to the local supermarket where people are shopping with WIC - they have expensive clothes, cell phones, and all manner of toys. Most usually have electronic entertainment at home. My wife's kin in Appalachia are exemplars of this - poor white trash, always broke, but with more toys, gadgets, and superfluous garbage than you can shake a stick at. Drive down the back roads, you'll see all sorts of satellite dishes and shiny new cars in front of farking bleached-out shacks.

Poor people aren't poor just because of bad wealth distribution or evil corporations - they're also (and in some cases, solely) poor because they make bad decisions.
 
2014-04-08 01:55:34 PM  

The Missing Link: Fubini: The Missing Link: You can use the internet for free in most  libraries

That's a nice safety net, but that assumes that you have access to such a thing and that it makes sense to do so.

Think again about the poor rural American outside the broadcast range of a TV station. Even if the local libraries have internet, they might be ten or twenty miles away, they have limited hours of availability, and you've got to compete for computer time with other patrons.

Really?

If you are hurting for money you do what you have to do. Internet is not a necessity, a obama phone is not a necessity. TV is not a necessity. Necessities are things like food, water, shelter. The rest are luxuries. If you cannot afford a luxury, you should not have that luxury because you need to focus on the necessities (food, water, shelter)

This is not hard to comprehend.


Internet is a necessity these days. Libraries are not convenient to everyone, especially in poor areas, and the internet is the only way to find and apply for many, if not most, jobs today. A phone is absolutely a necessity, and cell phones these days can be incredibly cheap to buy, and you can get incredibly cheap plans. They are important as a tool so that you can contact employers and so employers can contact you.

This is not hard to comprehend.
 
2014-04-08 01:55:37 PM  

Lagaidh: lennavan: The Missing Link: I have never been poor and looking for work while being out of a job.

The Missing Link: Seriously, I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK, WHILE BEING OUT OF A JOB.

The Missing Link: No, NEVER.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK.  FFS PEOPLE This is not hard to comprehend.

We know.  Geez dude, you don't have to beat us over the head with it.

Actually, this person sounds to me like they've spent time truly thinking about the subject. Many life-long middle class (and higher) folks I've met never think twice about a small luxury. In my own experience, I feel like those who do pinch all types of pennies have spent appreciable time being poor, or are an engineer =)

Be poor long enough and the decisions really do become that black and white easy. Think about how my generation's (GenX) grandparents behaved due to experiencing the Great Depression. Our parents (their kids) sure acted differently in an America of absolute abundance...


I think everyone should have to have some sort of learning situation where they are given money and then go through it and then get into debt. Mine was definitely college where I ran up like 2k on my CC and realized that if I didn't pay it off, how much I'd owe over the years paying it off. Paid that sh-t off in 3 months working my ass off. After that I saved saved saved and I definitely think not a few months down the road, but like 5 years down the road and always 'what if I lose my job" mentality. Weird way to live but it keeps at least financial stress away because I've put a good amount away for a rainy season.
 
2014-04-08 01:58:22 PM  

Lagaidh: lennavan: The Missing Link: I have never been poor and looking for work while being out of a job.

The Missing Link: Seriously, I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK, WHILE BEING OUT OF A JOB.

The Missing Link: No, NEVER.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK.  FFS PEOPLE This is not hard to comprehend.

We know.  Geez dude, you don't have to beat us over the head with it.

Actually, this person sounds to me like they've spent time truly thinking about the subject. Many life-long middle class (and higher) folks I've met never think twice about a small luxury. In my own experience, I feel like those who do pinch all types of pennies have spent appreciable time being poor, or are an engineer =)

Be poor long enough and the decisions really do become that black and white easy. Think about how my generation's (GenX) grandparents behaved due to experiencing the Great Depression. Our parents (their kids) sure acted differently in an America of absolute abundance...



I have no doubt he has spent plenty of time thinking about it.  The problem is what he totally imagined doesn't match reality.  He suggests someone perform a job search without internet and a phone.  You gotta be shiatting me with this stuff.  I know he totally imagines going door to door asking for a job works.  I agree, he has thought about how great of a method that would be.  I also have zero doubt he has never actually done it himself.
 
2014-04-08 01:59:56 PM  

Witness99: Naw, I could come up with it. But that's only because I would be willing to do ANYTHING


I said it earlier, and I'll say it again:  Your shiat ain't worth what you think it is on the open market.

JC22: No one is going to bemoan you for it.


I don't care about being bemoaned.  People's perceptions of me are irrelevant to me.  If they were I wouldn't be posting any of this.  And if that was why I've done what I've done so far, I wouldn't be genuinely contrite when I apologize to those whom I'm taking from.  I simply sincerely do not want to take from people who do not want to give.  It in my mind is the same as thievery.  I do not take what is not given.  I realize that codes have largely fallen by the wayside in this day and age but I still live by one.

JC22: But there are also those that game the system so they don't have to do anything. That's why those on the right want those people kicked off assistance.


The problem here is that in my time among the impoverished, and that time has been considerable, I have met a lot of poor individuals on public assistance.  A LOT.  I would venture an estimate that around 80%-85% of the people that I've met in my life live far below the poverty line and are on some kind of benefits.  Out of all the people I've met, not a single one appeared to be "gaming the system."  Or, from a different perspective, all of us are.  Maybe if we just pushed a little harder, worked ourselves a little more raw, we wouldn't need that assistance.  But for whatever reason, we didn't.

That's the laziness of which the critical side speaks.  That's how people "game the system."  What you purport to attack is a fallacy- a boogeyman.  What you hit is us.

TheShavingofOccam123: There's a support network out there for you.


I'm looking into said network.  Thanks man.  =)
 
2014-04-08 02:02:26 PM  
In January 2012, the average cable TV subscriber paid nearly three times as much for cable then as they did in 2001, according to research by SNL Kagan cited by the Wall Street Journal. The jump in average prices amoundted to about $128 per month from $48.

Cable prices have risen 6 percent this last July over the previous year.

The first thing you do to solve a problem is to admit there's a problem. And the problem is not how you prepare crumbs.
 
2014-04-08 02:03:01 PM  

BigChad: I'm this close...


[i188.photobucket.com image 750x600]


I see this thread is too serious for this, but here it is anyway:
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com

/my circumstances are taking a turn for the worse, where I'll be cutting a lot of luxuries I've been lucky to have so far.
 
2014-04-08 02:03:12 PM  

SpectroBoy: There is no way a monthly TV bill is a good idea if you are struggling to make ends meet. No how. No way. It is a luxury.


It's also still possible to watch TV without a monthly bill. It involves a funny looking thing you mount on the wall with silver looking things coming out of it...

Or just ditch the TV and get a netflix subscription to go with the internet access and the laptop, which should be priorities. It's not hard or expensive to get an old, used laptop capable of streaming video these days. Hell, go ahead and download shait.
 
2014-04-08 02:04:32 PM  

Pincy: It would be nice if people who have enough money would stop telling people who don't what is and isn't a necessity.   Or at least try to picture yourself in someone else's shoes every once in a while.


Some people have already decided that if you're poor, that means that you've done something wrong to screw up your own life. They reject the idea that there can be no-fault poorness. If someone is poor, it's obviously their fault that they have cable TV, or internet, or something else, because they should have been smart enough to see the future and know they'd have an unexpected $2K or $5K or $10K bill and if they hadn't been so stupid with their money in the past then they'd be in good shape for the future.

Yes, it's important to have an emergency fund, we can all agree on that. If I live on $1K a month, my 12-month emergency fund is only $12K. That comes out to be a single major home repair or medical bill.

You can't fault poor people for not having significant liquid assets. They're poor, by definition they won't have those things. You have to accept that poor people are fundamentally less economically secure than others. If they weren't we wouldn't call it poor, we'd  call it "making less money".
 
2014-04-08 02:04:40 PM  

Carousel Beast: Dadoody: I have about 250k I could pull out and still be debt free.

I know people my age who've worked the same jobs as me and have made as much or more, and can't seem to save a dime of it, so unless you've got mental disabilities, there is no reason you couldn't have worked and saved or invested money in a way to grow it and have some for a rainy day unless you've made some poor life choices, and let's face it.....4 in 10 Americans usually do make some pretty lousy life choices.

This is not a popular thing to say, but it's true. Go down to the local supermarket where people are shopping with WIC - they have expensive clothes, cell phones, and all manner of toys. Most usually have electronic entertainment at home. My wife's kin in Appalachia are exemplars of this - poor white trash, always broke, but with more toys, gadgets, and superfluous garbage than you can shake a stick at. Drive down the back roads, you'll see all sorts of satellite dishes and shiny new cars in front of farking bleached-out shacks.

Poor people aren't poor just because of bad wealth distribution or evil corporations - they're also (and in some cases, solely) poor because they make bad decisions.


Now we all know that no matter how much gold the American Bald Eagle shiats into the hands of every man woman and child in the land that there are always going to be poor people due to stupidity right?

The problems America face now are because smart, responsible people are getting farked over sometimes. Agreed, for every story that is sad, there's usually more than one party to share blame...

I'd rather prop up some that take advantage of the safety nets than to find that net impossible to land on if I  need it.
 
2014-04-08 02:04:59 PM  

radarlove: People's perceptions of me are irrelevant to me.  If they were I wouldn't be posting any of this.  And if that was why I've done what I've done so far, I wouldn't be genuinely contrite when I apologize to those whom I'm taking from.  I simply sincerely do not want to take from people who do not want to give.


I am fortunate enough to make a pretty decent salary. I would rather my tax dollars go to help you out than most of the other crap our government pays for. Imagine all the assistance you get to help you get back on your feet comes from me and people who think like me.

You are welcome.
 
2014-04-08 02:05:21 PM  
My brother took money out of his 401k and bought a Harley.... He doesn't understand why I stopped putting money into college funds for HIS kids after that.
 
2014-04-08 02:09:42 PM  

monoski: Dimensio: Either I am relatively well-off, or I am even more successful at being a tightwad cheapskate than I had realised.

/No cable TV.
//No Netflix.

but still found $5 a month to give to Drew for his beer budget


You are mistaken: my TotalFark membership is sponsored.
 
2014-04-08 02:10:48 PM  

Dimensio: monoski: Dimensio: Either I am relatively well-off, or I am even more successful at being a tightwad cheapskate than I had realised.

/No cable TV.
//No Netflix.

but still found $5 a month to give to Drew for his beer budget

You are mistaken: my TotalFark membership is sponsored.


You found your answer then!
 
2014-04-08 02:11:33 PM  

lennavan: Lagaidh: lennavan: The Missing Link: I have never been poor and looking for work while being out of a job.

The Missing Link: Seriously, I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK, WHILE BEING OUT OF A JOB.

The Missing Link: No, NEVER.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN POOR AND LOOKING FOR WORK.  FFS PEOPLE This is not hard to comprehend.

We know.  Geez dude, you don't have to beat us over the head with it.

Actually, this person sounds to me like they've spent time truly thinking about the subject. Many life-long middle class (and higher) folks I've met never think twice about a small luxury. In my own experience, I feel like those who do pinch all types of pennies have spent appreciable time being poor, or are an engineer =)

Be poor long enough and the decisions really do become that black and white easy. Think about how my generation's (GenX) grandparents behaved due to experiencing the Great Depression. Our parents (their kids) sure acted differently in an America of absolute abundance...

I have no doubt he has spent plenty of time thinking about it.  The problem is what he totally imagined doesn't match reality.  He suggests someone perform a job search without internet and a phone.  You gotta be shiatting me with this stuff.  I know he totally imagines going door to door asking for a job works.  I agree, he has thought about how great of a method that would be.  I also have zero doubt he has never actually done it himself.


I'll only mention that I'm a programmer with 12 years' experience (holy shiat when did THAT happen) to say I understand how software is used and created. I will tell you it is most certainly possible to get a job without the internet. Are you thinking about construction? I wired houses for years and never looked up a job posting for an electrician online. I dug ditches. I performed side software development.

He's trying to say that humans can do anything they can think of, even if it is incredibly inconvenient and difficult.

I too marvel at a single race whose members simultaneously include amputees that run marathons and persons claiming that finding a job without the internet is "impossible".
 
2014-04-08 02:11:58 PM  

thermo: My brother took money out of his 401k and bought a Harley.... He doesn't understand why I stopped putting money into college funds for HIS kids after that.


Hope he gets some life insurance to help those kids out. A friend of mine just got taken out on his Harley.
 
2014-04-08 02:12:31 PM  

cptjeff: Internet is a necessity these days. Libraries are not convenient to everyone, especially in poor areas, and the internet is the only way to find and apply for many, if not most, jobs today. A phone is absolutely a necessity, and cell phones these days can be incredibly cheap to buy, and you can get incredibly cheap plans. They are important as a tool so that you can contact employers and so employers can contact you.


Even in dense urban areas, the poor can't necessarily use libraries for internet. Suppose you don't have a car, a library might be a mile or more distant from your residence. That means you've got to walk/bike/bus/train to get there, which is going to take up time, then you might have to wait to use the computer at the library, and then you've got to get home somehow. It turns checking your email into an hour long process- not very feasible if you need to check it every day for job applications and whatnot.

Like I said above, the attitude of some people is "They're poor so they must be doing something wrong. Either they're paying for something they don't need, or they're not aware of government service that would make things cheaper for them, or they're just bad at money or impulse control."
 
2014-04-08 02:15:39 PM  

thermo: My brother took money out of his 401k and bought a Harley.... He doesn't understand why I stopped putting money into college funds for HIS kids after that.


What fund will he raid when he needs a new Corvette, then?
 
2014-04-08 02:24:05 PM  
ITT: "I'm the bootstrappiest bootstrapper who ever bootstrapped! If you're poor it's because you're stupid! Buying anything is stupid! Look at meeeeeee!"
 
2014-04-08 02:25:14 PM  

Fubini: Even in dense urban areas, the poor can't necessarily use libraries for internet. Suppose you don't have a car, a library might be a mile or more distant from your residence. That means you've got to walk/bike/bus/train to get there, which is going to take up time, then you might have to wait to use the computer at the library, and then you've got to get home somehow. It turns checking your email into an hour long process- not very feasible if you need to check it every day for job applications and whatnot.


Yes, because someone who is unemployed has a hard time finding an hour to check his email.

I am not trying to make light of the plight of the poor, I have been there and it sucks. But there are TONS of programs to help them out. The problem is educating them about their options.

In some places low income families can get internet for 10 bucks a month and a $149 voucher for a computer (good enough for a chromebook, I use one and they can do quite a bit).

Service Details:
Internet Essentials participants will receive:
Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;
No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax; and
Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Additional benefits include the Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value) for comprehensive online security protection at no additional cost.


https://www.sau81.org/content/comcast-offers-low-income-families-affo r dable-internet-and-computer-access
 
2014-04-08 02:25:32 PM  

cptjeff: The Missing Link: Fubini: The Missing Link: You can use the internet for free in most  libraries

That's a nice safety net, but that assumes that you have access to such a thing and that it makes sense to do so.

Think again about the poor rural American outside the broadcast range of a TV station. Even if the local libraries have internet, they might be ten or twenty miles away, they have limited hours of availability, and you've got to compete for computer time with other patrons.

Really?

If you are hurting for money you do what you have to do. Internet is not a necessity, a obama phone is not a necessity. TV is not a necessity. Necessities are things like food, water, shelter. The rest are luxuries. If you cannot afford a luxury, you should not have that luxury because you need to focus on the necessities (food, water, shelter)

This is not hard to comprehend.

Internet is a necessity these days. Libraries are not convenient to everyone, especially in poor areas, and the internet is the only way to find and apply for many, if not most, jobs today. A phone is absolutely a necessity, and cell phones these days can be incredibly cheap to buy, and you can get incredibly cheap plans. They are important as a tool so that you can contact employers and so employers can contact you.

This is not hard to comprehend.


I think the key word here is convenient. We are talking about necessities vs luxuries. By saying something is a convenience you are saying it is a luxury.

It would have been much more  convenient for my father if he did not have to work to or three jobs in order to provide the necessities and a good education.

Convenience doe not equal necessity convenience equal luxury
 
2014-04-08 02:31:47 PM  
I can't do it on the spur of the moment, but I can have $2000 by the end of the week if you don't ask too many questions.
 
2014-04-08 02:32:36 PM  

jst3p: Yes, because someone who is unemployed has a hard time finding an hour to check his email.


What if you're working two part time jobs with unpredictable hours and are trying to find a better one?

jst3p: But there are TONS of programs to help them out.


Modest support programs, and they are modest, not to mention incredibly difficult to navigate even if you're educated and know what you're doing, don't make living in poverty easy.

jst3p: In some places low income families can get internet for 10 bucks a month and a $149 voucher for a computer (good enough for a chromebook, I use one and they can do quite a bit).


And internet being a virtual necessity, that's a very good thing. $149 also gets you a pretty decent used machine on e-bay.

The Missing Link: I think the key word here is convenient. We are talking about necessities vs luxuries. By saying something is a convenience you are saying it is a luxury.


You're stunningly clueless, aren't you?
 
2014-04-08 02:35:10 PM  

serial_crusher: How do we rank against other countries in that regard.  Could people in Germany come up with $1450 euros just as easily?


Don't think a study like that was done here. Anyway, I could do that without going to the bank. Always have some emergency cash hidden.

That said, it will change once my house gets finally built. Right now I am totally debt free which is nice and took a long time.

My entertainment budget for after the house is built: 25 Euro for internet and no smartphone.
 
2014-04-08 02:36:43 PM  

cptjeff: What if you're working two part time jobs with unpredictable hours and are trying to find a better one?


I worked 3 part time jobs for awhile (Babbages, Blockbuster and a sandwich shop), still would have had an hour to walk to the library and back if I had to. As it was since I had jobs I could afford AOL for internet access (it was the early 90's don't judge me!). Have you ever been in a position like that? I think you have good intentions but it doesn't seem like you are speaking from actual experience.
 
2014-04-08 02:39:33 PM  
couldpull @2,000 if I really had too. But that's out of my fund to return to car ownership and my overall net worth of $2700.
 
2014-04-08 02:41:34 PM  

Pincy: radarlove: If you live in the United States, you're almost guaranteed to have access to a library and internet.

No, you are not.


As a person who frequently relies on public libraries for his shelter, bathroom, and sleeping accommodations, I can enthusiastically assure you that you are.  You know why you find all us bearded, disgusting, piss-stinking homeless guys at the library?   It's because we all very quickly learn what a common and invaluable resource it is.

lennavan: When you do need it


That right there is the line in the sand that I have trouble psychologically discerning.  Do I really need it.  Surely there are people out there who need it more and who aren't getting it.  But I'm 35, white, male, childless...the world doesn't shiat on me the way it shiats on other groups of people.  Shouldn't those people who need it the most, those people who are subjugated by a cruel and unfair system that sticks them in the gutter because of their race or gender or age, get first crack at that assistance?  Shouldn't I sacrifice so that those less fortunate than me can endure?  And I've been told that I'm a lazy piece of shiat my whole life, so what if those voices from the past are all correct and I'm just being a lazy piece of shiat now?

You can see why it gets tough to accept something like assistance when these are the questions that run through your head.

lennavan: You're not. Whether you decide to use it or not, everyone else is going to pay in the same amount.


This is true, but the thought of having to go on still makes one feel like part of the problem.  It's not a pleasant feeling.

lennavan: The underlying cause is no doubt your current financial situation. Dude, just throw down an application. Here, that application gets you nothing except an in person meeting. So just send in the application and go to the meeting. Worry about the rest from there.


That's becoming a chicken and egg thing with me.  Are my financial problems the cause of my mental instability or is my mental instability the cause of my continuing financial problems?  I think they both feed each other, to be honest.  As for "just applying," it is a little more complicated than that, but I'm making progress.  I'm in a very isolated place both physically and mentally, but we're finding a way of working around those issues.

lennavan: Well I'll remember your post and think maybe I should toughen up and skip a few meals


Don't you dare.  I'm convinced that lack of food has probably played a bigger role in my declining health, both mental and physical, than any other one immediate factor.  Starvation gets simply maddening.  Even worse than lack of sleep.  At least with lack of sleep there's a certain euphoria that comes with it.  A drunkenness.  With hunger, there's just...pain and emptiness.

Realistically, and this is a rare moment of total rational lucidity from me so cherish it while you've got it, I sacrifice because of self-hatred.  I feel that I deserve less than anyone else.  I suppose I tried to pin this all on FARK earlier and that's terribly unfair.  It gets very easy to hate yourself when you get to this point with poverty and it's even easier still when you've had a lifetime of practice at it.  And while listening to both sides of this website objectively probably doesn't help my mental issues and the hurdle that I need to overcome to get assistance, it is certainly not the root cause.

That's all me.


/It's not therapy: It's FARK.com
 
2014-04-08 02:42:46 PM  

cptjeff: jst3p: Yes, because someone who is unemployed has a hard time finding an hour to check his email.

What if you're working two part time jobs with unpredictable hours and are trying to find a better one?

jst3p: But there are TONS of programs to help them out.

Modest support programs, and they are modest, not to mention incredibly difficult to navigate even if you're educated and know what you're doing, don't make living in poverty easy.

jst3p: In some places low income families can get internet for 10 bucks a month and a $149 voucher for a computer (good enough for a chromebook, I use one and they can do quite a bit).

And internet being a virtual necessity, that's a very good thing. $149 also gets you a pretty decent used machine on e-bay.

The Missing Link: I think the key word here is convenient. We are talking about necessities vs luxuries. By saying something is a convenience you are saying it is a luxury.

You're stunningly clueless, aren't you?


So you are saying rather than putting food on the table, someone should be paying for internet services? So rather than paying for food/shelter and walking or taking the bus to the library, they should pay for internet?
 
2014-04-08 02:43:45 PM  

Dimensio: monoski: Dimensio: Either I am relatively well-off, or I am even more successful at being a tightwad cheapskate than I had realised.

/No cable TV.
//No Netflix.

but still found $5 a month to give to Drew for his beer budget

You are mistaken: my TotalFark membership is sponsored.


Cool!
 
2014-04-08 02:52:19 PM  

jst3p: still would have had an hour to walk to the library and back if I had to. As it was since I had jobs I could afford AOL for internet access (it was the early 90's don't judge me!).


So you've never actually had to walk an hour to the library every day to log on to the internet, which is absolutely critical to trying to find most jobs these days, but you're fine saying everybody else should. Is that what I'm getting from you?

You thought Internet access was important enough in the 90s that you subscribed to AOL while just trying to scrape by. It's a thousand times more important now, but you still think internet access at home is a luxury and that people should just walk an hour to the library or pay bus fare both ways (do that every day, and it adds up to a lot more than just getting internet access at home) just so they can apply for jobs or make sure they haven't been offered one yet?
 
2014-04-08 02:52:31 PM  

Lagaidh: I feel like those who do pinch all types of pennies have spent appreciable time being poor, or are an engineer =)


Are you kidding me? That's accountant crap.

To engineers like myself, expenditures on TVs and netflix are 3 orders of magnitude less than my monthly income, which means I can safely ignore it.
 
2014-04-08 02:54:46 PM  

SpectroBoy: People somehow managed to survive through most of human history without television. Read a library book


I bet you rail against socialism too, without the slightest hint of irony.
 
2014-04-08 02:54:53 PM  
A number of people have said it already, but I'll say it again: Write down all your expenses and your income. Use a Free accounting program if you can, if that's too complicated, use a Free spreadsheet program, if that's too complicated or you don't have a computer[0], use paper and pen and a calculator.

If you write down everything you spend money on for a month or two and categorize those expenses, you can figure out what you're spending the most on and possibly identify places where you can spend less. Categorizing is essential since $20 for car insurance is great and $20 for lunch is a bit out there. "Hey, I'm spending a lot by going out to lunch all the time! I can cut back to going for lunch once a week," was the first thing I saw back in 2001. I knew getting a $7 or $8 lunch combo wasn't great, but seeing ~$900 in the "expenses - lunch" column of the GNUcash report after a year really showed just how much money I was wasting.

If my ex-GF can use a similar approach, you probably can too. It didn't prevent her from getting into credit card debt, but it showed her she was spending the equivalent of one-half new blouse per month in credit card interest, and might have helped her modify her behavior long-term. Note that YMMV, YexGFMV, and EPID.

[0] Phones are not good for entering lots of numbers and letters and manipulating them in complicated ways. Fortunately, a cheap 5-year-old real computer will have enough power to run accounting programs or simple spreadsheets.
 
2014-04-08 02:56:27 PM  

The Missing Link: or taking the bus to the library, they should pay for internet?


Let's do a quick calculation here. Taking the bus to and from the library every day, at a discounted fare of $1 each way. $60 a month. Only weekdays: $40 a month. Cable internet: $35 a month. Paying a neighbor for access to their wireless: $10 a month (or whatever).
 
2014-04-08 02:56:47 PM  
i.cdn.turner.com
 
2014-04-08 03:00:01 PM  

TheShavingofOccam123: So with Microsoft abandoning support for XP, are people going to go out and buy a tablet? Are they going to go out and buy a new OS and try to install it on their old desktop? Are they going to buy an off-lease or refurb desktop with a newer OS? Are they going to buy a new desktop with a new OS then pay to upgrade 8.1?


I'd guess the majority of individuals who still run XP on their computers are probably going to stick with it. It's unfortunate, but if they haven't upgraded yet I don't think they're going to immediately, and the lack of security updates is not likely going to mean a lot.

Also, if they buy a new desktop with 8 and they want 8.1 it's a free update.
 
2014-04-08 03:00:14 PM  

cptjeff: jst3p: still would have had an hour to walk to the library and back if I had to. As it was since I had jobs I could afford AOL for internet access (it was the early 90's don't judge me!).

So you've never actually had to walk an hour to the library every day to log on to the internet, which is absolutely critical to trying to find most jobs these days, but you're fine saying everybody else should. Is that what I'm getting from you?


No, that isn't what I am saying. What I am saying is that being poor sucks six ways from Sunday but if it is what needs to be done it should get done.

You thought Internet access was important enough in the 90s that you subscribed to AOL while just trying to scrape by. It's a thousand times more important now, but you still think internet access at home is a luxury and that people should just walk an hour to the library or pay bus fare both ways (do that every day, and it adds up to a lot more than just getting internet access at home) just so they can apply for jobs or make sure they haven't been offered one yet?

If they have to.
 
2014-04-08 03:00:25 PM  

Lagaidh: Are you thinking about construction?


Know how I know you haven't worked construction in 12 years?

research.stlouisfed.org
 
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